The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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Aromantic Valentine’s Day

Aromantic Valentines Day

When the average person thinks of Valentine’s Day, they think of a day of romance, spending time with their significant other, and showering them with gifts and appreciation. But what about people who lack romantic connection? How do they interpret Valentine’s Day?

 

According to WebMD, aromantic individuals (or aro, for short) experience little to no romantic attraction towards others. How each person interprets their identity can vary, but for the most part, aro people have no interest in romantic relationships, which begs the question: Does a holiday that, in modern day, is all about romantic relationships alienate the aromantic population?

 

I have interviewed six Whitney Young students who identify on the aromantic spectrum on their opinions revolving around Valentine’s Day. To protect their privacy, each student will remain anonymous.

 

When it comes to how each of them celebrates Valentine’s Day, about half of the students don’t celebrate, while the other half celebrates by showing appreciation to their family and friends. One freshman says, “I don’t normally celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I do take advantage of some of the deals for the sake of getting people nice things.” Another student, a sophomore, says, “I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I kind of treat it like a normal day and it flies under my radar.”

 

Many of these students also hold differing opinions about what types of love Valentine’s Day should celebrate. One junior says, “I think it’s a cute day where people get to appreciate those they love. And even if you aren’t romantically involved with anyone you are still free to celebrate [with friends and family]!” Another junior said, in response to if people should celebrate more types of love, “Absolutely, as it can be harmful towards alloromantic people without partners as well. Platonic love is just as important as romantic love.”

 

Many members of the LGBTQ+ community face stigma for their identity, with a common slogan from the community being “love is love”. This stigma extends to the aromantic community as well, as they receive pressure from various sources due to Valentine’s Day and romance. A junior says, “[Valentine’s Day] makes me feel bad about my sexuality… I feel like it rubs romance in my face and I feel pressured to experience romantic attraction, just because that’s the focus of the day.” Other students feel pressured because of media, internal pressure, or don’t have to worry about pressure due to their age. One sophomore expresses pressure from the difficulty of explaining what aromanticism is on a day like Valentine’s Day. “When I answer, ‘No, I’m not really interested,’ they usually try to push an answer out of me. Thing is, attraction is confusing and not linear. People are, most of the time, not willing to listen.”

 

So, there are a wide variety of viewpoints that aromantic people have on Valentine’s day, with the overall opinion that not being in a romantic relationship should be destigmatized, especially when there are ways of celebrating and expressing non-romantic love. When asked what Valentine’s Day would look like in their ideal world, students answered that if people had best friends as “Valentines” it would show just how strong platonic love is in comparison to romantic love or that Valentine’s Day likely would not exist. From a junior, “I think it could be a celebration of friendship as well as romantic relationships, but one is not put above the other, and it is a day to celebrate your interpersonal connections with others.”

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